ALMOST 1,000 people in Dorset are being monitored by trading standards as victims of scams in what has been described as “an endless problem”.

Already this month, through its Fraud Alert service, Dorset Police has issued a warning to people about a bogus Facebook alert and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued advice on a TV subscription scam.

Trading standards service manager Ivan Hancock said that it was “a miserable situation” which has left people unable to trust anything.

“Scams and fraud is an endless problem,” he said. “Locally, we’ve intercepted mail at the post box of people who have just been sending off £5 notes to scammers.

“This may not seem like much but once people have fallen for a scam they become the target for many others and this begins to add up.”

Trading standards in Dorset is working with 111 people who have been identified as repeat victims and has a list of 777 people who are waiting to be seen by staff.

In the first three months of the year, it completed work with 82 people.

“Although we have almost 900 people we’ve identified as scam victims, a lot of these are people we’ve contacted after receiving information from national fraud organisations.

“The work we do with these – particularly Friends Against Scams – is vitally important.”

Friends Against Scams is a national trading standards project which aims to raise awareness of scams and work with communities to help victims.

So far this year, Dorset Police has issued six public warnings – most of which are telephone scams.

A police spokesman said: “Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.

“The impact of fraud on victims is not only financial.

“The emotional impact is significant and includes guilt, misplaced trust and diminished confidence, which can have detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of the victim, as well as increased social isolation.”

Mr Hancock said that the best way to report scams was to contact Citizens Advice. He added that anyone who has handed over money in a scam should report it to police.